Disneyland: Worth it during Summer ?

May 4, 2015, 4:08 PM

Looking for something fun to do with the kids during the summer, so we're thinking of possibly driving down to LA for a weekend in July.

We considered some other ideas, but at the end of the day we realize that going to Disney makes it so much more special than most of the other choices down there. On the other hand, we've heard lots of bad things about going during crowded peak season times, which we've never really done. We generally have only gone to WDW or DL during value or moderate seasons, and are used to mostly short wait times.

Our tentative plan could be: drive down from Bay Area where we live, 3 night stay in a cheaper hotel near the parks so we could walk over, with 2 days in the parks (Friday and Saturday) and the final morning at the hotel pool then drive home.

The big issue would be cost vs. value -- 4 2-day tickets at roughly $200 each, vs. how good it would be given big crowds/longer lines.

Any thoughts about whether it would be worth it ? Would Park Hoppers be likely to help significantly ? Maybe other ideas for an LA weekend that might be better value ? Hotel suggestions or other thoughts ?

All opinions appreciated and thanks!

Replies (5)

May 4, 2015, 10:24 PM

Go to Disneyland's website and look for the annual pass blackout calendar. You want to visit on a day that is blocked out (in gray) to as many passholders as possible. Avoid at all costs days in green just before or after long blackout periods for the SoCal and SoCal Select APs. *Those* often are among the most crowded days of the year at the resort.

May 5, 2015, 7:43 AM

Going in the peak season means you need to give yourself more time to enjoy it. Buy a 3 or 4 day park hopper pass. You need every single day. July 4th is the most crowded day. Don't expect to visit many rides. Give yourself at least 2 hours wait for their terrific fireworks display (not to be missed). It might be better to come down on Thursday for an extra day. See World of Color first on Thursday night.

May 5, 2015, 9:39 AM

I always avoid it but hey it's your choice. I always think right after school starts or early in the year.

May 5, 2015, 11:56 AM

The answer to this question is really "it depends." If this was your first visit, I would say no if you can't give yourself at least three days. However, as it is not I would ask yourself the following questions:

-Is it unlikely I will have another chance to visit in the next year or two?
-Am I interested in the 60th anniversary activities?
-Will I be okay with only doing 10-15 attractions per day?
-Can I wait in lines of up to two hours without getting overly frustrated?

If you say yes to all of the above, I would go for it. Otherwise, I'd wait for an off-season opportunity.

If you do go, July is actually the best month of the summer due to AP blockout days. As a result, the crowd doesn't vary too much from day to day, so visiting on a weekend is only going to be slightly busier than a weekday. I would avoid 4th of July weekend and July 17th, but other than that your dates shouldn't matter much. For park hopping, it depends whether you think you'll want a full day at DCA or not. Hopping back and forth several times during the day is not advisable during busy periods, so if you think you'll have enough to do to spend a full day at DCA I'd just save the money and go one park per day (it doesn't matter much which park you do on which day). As for crowds, expect wait times of over an hour for the E-ticket attractions (over two hours for Radiator Springs Racers) and 30-45 minute waits for other rides. Do not count on Fastpass being available after mid-afternoon for most attractions. If seeing a show, arrive at least 30 minutes early to guarantee a seat and stake out a viewing spot no later than an hour before a nighttime spectacular.

May 5, 2015, 8:32 PM

We went 7/7/13 - 7/9/13 and honestly had little complaints as far as the crowd was concerned (note that that's Sunday-Tuesday). The only rides that really had long lines were Radiator Springs Racers (of course) and the Nemo Submarine Voyage. Everything else was completely manageable with some time management and strategic Fastpassing. It sounds like this isn't your first trip there, so you already should know the lay of the land and have ideas of what you want to hit versus what's worth missing.

We stayed at a nearby Sheraton - not cheap, but they had a shuttle to the parks that was pretty consistent.

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